Surface labs tour: Microsoft hardware exec says “who knows?” to inevitable phone question

Laurent Giret

Microsoft’s Surface division was clearly on a roll this year: after releasing a new Surface Pro and a brand new Surface Laptop in June, the company recently introduced its most powerful Surface devices ever with the 13” and 15” Surface Book 2 hybrid laptops.

On this occasion, our colleagues over at the Verge visited Microsoft’s hardware lab to better understand what the company is trying to achieve with its hardware efforts. Dieter Bohn, executive editor at the technology news website had a little chat with CVP of devices Panos Panay and Ralf Groene, head of industrial design at Microsoft.

Microsoft makes some of the best 2-in-1 devices you can find on the market today, and both Panay and Groene had plenty to say about Microsoft’s ambition to create great products for mobile professionals. Obviously, this was a good opportunity for The Verge to sneak in a phone question.

While Groene was explaining that Microsoft’s true goal wasn’t making “pretty shells” but “connecting people,” The Verge’s Dieter Bohn interrupted him to ask why Microsoft wasn’t just making a phone. Groene laughed and answered “Who knows?” (you can watch the segment at 4:10).

Of course, the phone question has been asked many times over the past few months, and we guess these ambiguous answers have been well prepared. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also had to address the topic at the GeekWire Summit last month, where he laughingly said to his interviewer that “I’m definitely not going to talk to you about it before I have the device.”

As you may know, Microsoft is rumored to be working on a foldable mobile device codenamed “Andromeda.” According to the latest information we’ve heard, HoloLens inventor Alex Kipman could be involved in its development, which suggests that Microsoft could be working on AR/VR capabilities as well. However, we don’t expect the Redmond giant to communicate about it until next year at the earliest, assuming the company doesn’t cancel it at some point. In the meantime, Microsoft is working hard to make its various apps and services work great and iOS and Android devices.

Image Credit: The Verge